10 March 2011

keeping things in perspective

Occasionally my emails are a mixed bag. It seems that no matter how hard you push yourself, sometimes your efforts are not enough for others. On these occasions I try to put myself in the other person's shoes. Yes, I am fallible. But I do always try to do my best.

On this occasion the list of my ommissions was long. I resisted listing the obstacles I face, the difficulties of doing things in another culture, or how exhausting it is to do everything in another language, or from another country. I did point out that even Peggy Guggenheim, after struggling with the same issues, abandoned her plans for international exhibitions in Italy, and I regret having done that. It is far better to look at the list of things I didn't do well enough, and learn from it, to make sure that my systems cross both countries and don't allow the same time lapses to happen again.

Often though it comes down to a lack of communication, or misunderstandings. That's when I am reminded that something like 80% of our meaning is communicated through body language. Are my emails misunderstood? Am I misreading the ones coming in to me? Maybe it comes down trying to fit too many things into one day, something I am addressing for my own survival.

Legato is coming to a close in NZ for this year. Yes, there are things I could have done differently, more efficiently. There is always room for improvement no matter what we do. The day we think we have mastered everything is the day that we lose humility, gratefulness and empathy for others. No one person is perfect. The reality is that Legato is, and always was, a peace initiative, not a commercial venture for contributing artists. Was I too idealistic believing that we were all working with the same motivations?

Perhaps I shouldn't put these thoughts out there, for all to read, as Legato has been a huge success. Awareness of post-war social issues has been raised, deeply moving family conversations have taken place, artists from different cultures have become friends and artwork for Legato was the key. It is unrealistic, however, to pretend that it was effortless or problem-free in its early days. Now, established and successful, it has a team working internationally to further its ideals. That didn't happen by accident.

After responding to the email about my ommissions this morning I was feeling rather down, and tried to put it out of my mind. That's not so easy. But shortly after another email arrived in my inbox. That email made me smile. It was requesting me to assemble by next Thursday a pick, shovels, weedmat, manpower and a jeep. It was a timely reminder that I am in the right place, doing what needs to be done. A new memorial needs some attention, and the organiser arrives next week to complete the work. Somehow, by then, I will have accessed all that he requires.

It's an interesting life that I lead. At times it is lonely, but only because my family are far-flung and my work in the English language slows down my progress with Italian. With language barriers most of my conversations with friends here don't have the depth of content that I crave. Today I could be at Italian class, but that has to wait. For now this one man band has work to do, a living to earn and a jeep to find.

Today I am grateful for learning.


Sarah said...

Dear anybody who has a problem with the organisation of 'Legato'.
HELP instead of COMPLAIN. And then, when you think you've helped enough, help a little more.
This is a kind, human and realistic thing to do, and will probably better serve your purpose.
Thanks in advance!

Kay said...

Thanks Sarah! It's OK, I've had my little complain now too. I also have help for future exhibitions; like minded people who work for humaitarian reasons and not for financial gain are hard to find but they do exist :-)

And I must acknowledge all the artists who have donated their works to good causes and been delightful to deal with.

It just saddens me that for some the good intentions expressed over a year ago when wanting to be a part of this dissolve into sales or money issues further down the track. Big sigh. End of comment. Onwards and upwards, as ever.

Anonymous said...

"Integrity is the quality of having an intuitive sense of honesty - a truthfulness in regard to the motivations of our actions"

Your motivations are totally onto it and insynce yet there are people who just haven't quite got it yet.
Keep smiling your biggest smile